Penn State University will host the state's first Private Forest Landowners Conference on May 10 and 11
at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona. The event, hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences' Center for Private Forests, aims to explore woodland opportunities for business ventures.
"This is an unprecedented opportunity to participate in an enlightening conference on forest land use, conservation and best-management practices for woodlots of all sizes," says Jim Finley, director of the Center for Private Forests. ""If you're a woodlot owner in Pennsylvania and are concerned about the future of your investment and the future of Penn's Woods, plan to attend. It'll feature nationally recognized experts on virtually all matters of concern to woodlot owners."
Some 99 100 seminars, field trips and exhibitions are in the works. The concurrent seminar sessions the following tracks: forest finance, forest legacy, forest history, backyard woods, woods and wildlife, forest health, tending and management, wood products, making your woods accessible, forests and water, forest recreation, aesthetics and biodiversity, and forest policy and advocacy.
For a list of the presentations, click on the conference website or call 800-235-9473.
Friday evening's keynote banquet features Doug Tallamy, chairman of entomology and wildlife ecology at University of Delaware and author of "Bringing Nature Home."
Tours on tap
The conference will feature five optional field tours on Friday morning before the conference officially kicks off at 1 p.m. on May 10. Here's what's on tap for them:
"Wind Energy and Implications for Private Forest Landowners": Visit a wind turbine farm, and learn about wind energy and potential impacts on the forest. Also covers important considerations for private forest landowners from leasing to forest management.
"Vernal Pools: Special Management Considerations": Covers basic ecology, hydrologic regimens and varying characteristics of vernal pools; ecology of vernal pool-breeding amphibians and reptiles; value of vernal pools for other game and nongame wildlife; and best-management conservation practices for wildlife users.
"The Nature Conservancy: Brush Mountain Field Tour": Restoration, including use of prescribed fire, on a severely degraded property. Covers the efforts to rehabilitate and enhance the tract, silvicultural treatments, scarification, herbicide applications, precommercial felling, deer fencing, public hunting, and tree and shrub plantings.
"Management and Control of Non-Native Invasive Plant Species": Highlights practices used at Canoe Creek State Park to control and manage invasive plant species (reed canary grass and tree of heaven) in riparian buffers. Special golden-winged warbler habitat development and funding opportunities will be discussed.
"Forest Management Practices on Private Forest Land": Practices to be covered includes shelterwood harvests, controlling interfering plants and deer management.